Monday, May 31, 2010

Rogue's Brutal Bitter

while at hidden the other night, my tastebuds were tingled by Rogue Brewery's Brutal Bitter.

it pours with an awful lot of head, and stays a bit hazy even after it warms up a little.  offered in 650mL bottles, it didn't say what its alcohol volume was, but judging by our lack of addle-brainedness, we figured it wasn't outrageously high!  15 degrees plato, 59 IBUs, 14.2 degrees Lovibond and just 7 ingredients:  100% floor-malted maris otter, cara vienna, cara wheat malts; crystal and rogue farm willamette hops, free range coastal waters and top fermenting pacman yeast.  no chemicals, preservatives or additives.  suggested food pairings are beef and bbq.

they say:  "Dedicated to Justin Fisch, the "Shade Man".  An imperial style bitter using exotic traditional floor malts, a hoppy citrus flavor with a stupendous hop aroma.  Hedonistic!"

definitely has a hop aroma, its smooth and very easy-drinking.  not particularly bitter and makes a great session beer.  we like it, we really like it!

"that's a fine summer beer", says alison
"its better to be brutal", says i

the website says: 
"2007 World Beer Championships—Gold
2006 World Beer Championships—Gold
2005 World Beer Championships—Gold
Dedicated to Justin Fisch, the Shade Man, and the official beer of the Rogue Nation. Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping."

i love the rogue brewery!
it may actually be the first craft brew i ever tried, before i knew what craft brewing even was.  i was in texas and got taken to the larger than imaginable local grocery store, where they had an entire aisle of hot sauce and two aisles of beer - it was heaven!  the dead guy label caught my eye and was the only memorable beer among the mixed six-pack i picked out.
since that day i have never been disappointed by a rogue beer.

and the brutal bitter was just what the doctor ordered the other night (well, okay, it was me who ordered it, my doctor doesn't actually approve of my beer drinking, but you know what i mean...) to wash all my cares away.  subtle, delicious, refreshing.  thumbs way, way up!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hidden Tasting Bar and Social Lounge

again with the never having heard of a place... thank dog i have friends who are in the know and willing to drag me out to try new places!

Hidden Tasting Bar and Social Lounge is located in the westin grand at 433 robson street.

they say:  "Hidden Tasting Bar and Social Lounge offers something for everyone. A place to share food, and enjoy a unique beer, or glass of wine in a relaxed environment. We have simplified the eating experience by integrating global food offerings using local ingredients, with attentive service. It's undeniably approachable, comfortable, and a place where "time flies when you're having fun"."

we definitely found the lounge to be welcoming.  a "nice" place, but one we didn't feel under-dressed in jeans in, nor would you feel over-dressed of you went with clubbier attire.  the space isn't large, but each table is afforded plenty of space so you feel comfortably separate yet part of the whole.  the lighting is muted, but not at all dim (in other words the glare of the day is gone, but you can still read the menu!)

advertised as comfort food with a modern twist, the menu is an inspired offering of fabulous sounding grub.  alison had the mac and cheese with scallops on the side.  the mac was smooth and creamy cheesy goodness and the scallops were cooked to perfection.  washed down with beer, it reminded her of our university days, but with much better quality ingredients!

i had the trio of dips with flat bread just before the kitchen closed.  perfect way to ensure that the drinking of "just one more" would not find its way to making me hung over in the morning!  the spinach dip was lovely, as was the bean and cranberry hummus... but the smoked salmon dip was delightfully phenomenal!  and phenominally delightful! definitely worth writing home about.

the beer list is sufficiently long, and heavy on my favourites like rogue and phillips.  all the offerings are in bottles though, no taps a-pourin'.  they advertise a weekly beer special, but didn't have one to offer us this week.  we tried a few, and i'll be sure to tell you all about them tomorrow!

the bathrooms, the bathrooms, ah they were lovely.  but what else would you expect from a hotel?  the lounge is up the grand staircase and across the well-appointed lobby.  i appreciated the classy design.  but have to wonder what the glassed off section on the stairs is all about.

we simply can't imagine what its purpose might be...

they named the lounge "hidden", and keep up with the theme all the way through, right down to holding the menus in cooty-catchers with words like "secret" and "discover" on the outside, with offerings of food pairings on the inside as fortunes.  we were quite taken with that fun touch!

verdict?  would definitely go there again.  and bring lots of friends!

craft beer locator's beer fact of the day

Craft Beer Locator's Beer Fact of the Day: Pabst Beer is now called Pabst Blue Ribbon beer because it was the first beer to win a blue ribbon at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

in vino veritas?

could this be true?
i sure hope so

Craft Beer Locator Beer Fact of the Day: Both red wine and dark beer are rich in flavonoids, which are believed to have a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Browns Social House

i had cause to be out and about near 10th and alma, and in need of sustenance, so i stopped in at Browns Social House.  i'd never heard of this chain before, and can't imagine why not.  i guess i just don't get out as much as i'd like to pretend i do.

their beer selection leaves an awful lot to be desired, but the atmosphere and the food were pretty fabulous.  and the bathroom was pretty darned wonderful, and you know how i like a good bathroom in my drinking establishment.

featuring only granville island, okanagan spring 1516, guinness, sleeman's honey brown and grolsch on tap, they also carry the following bottles:  coors light, kokanee, sol, sapporo, guinness and strongbow.  like i said, not much of a selection.  they do offer sleeves of the taps for $3.95 or pitchers for $14 on sundays and mondays.  the "social lager" specially brewed for them by granville island brewery tasted pretty much the same to me as regular gi lager, but at only $4.95 i felt it was most palatable option.

the food though, the food was fabulous.  i had the cowgirl salad and dynamite roll combo - fabulously delicious, i'd totally go there again just for that meal.  although it might take me a while to do so - kits is not my usual stomping ground.

and i liked the decor, particularly the industrial look ceiling, all the light fixtures and the embroidered leather bar stools.  nice place to watch the game and people.

verdict:  thumbs way down on the beer selection, thumbs way up on the atmosphere and food.  i'd definitely go again, just not with a beer loving friend!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

quote of the day

"Give me a woman who loves beer and I will conquer the world."
-Kaiser Welhelm

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

dix cask

went to dix last thursday for the cask night.
happy happy joy joy, it was an ipa!

quite enjoyable.  no tasting notes for this one though...  just that it was hoppy goodness and totally worth the trip to dix.
as we didn't get there until almost 7:00, we only got one glass of the cask before it was finished.  luckily i really like their house ipa and had more glasses of that than were strictly necessary!  oh the hoppy goodness, how i love thee just a little too well sometimes.

unfortunately there's not really anything on dix's menu for me to eat, so i'm not sure how many more visits to their cask night i might fit in before they close...  all the carnivores in my party were more than delighted by the food options so should i need to venture there again i shouldn't have any trouble convincing the posse to come with me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Propeller's Extra Special Bitter

and for my next trick, drinking a six pack of Propeller's ESB!
okay, not all in one go... not all today... not that i couldn't do it - don't you doubt my abilities!  i just don't NEED to drink it all today, okay?

pours with an incredible head, lovely coppery brown colour, some hop aroma.

a good canadian beer, this one is brewed by the John Allen Brewing Company in nova scotia.  5% and preservative free.

they say:  "Brewed with carefully selected malts and hops, this copper coloured, English-style ale is our best seller.  Smooth, full-bodied, and non-pasteurized, like all our beers.  Drink fresh."

i find it delicious, but a bit on the subtle side.  i think i'm getting far too used to the big, brash, hoppy ipas and esbs that i've been drinking.  this one almost falls flat in comparison.  but, if i spend a little time with it (thank dog for that six pack), i can see its allure.  and i'm getting assimilated.  tasty stuff, my friends, tasty stuff.

their website says:  "Our fine craft ales are always best enjoyed in the company of friends and family over a sumptuous dinner or light lunch. It's all about being together and sharing the good times."

Gold Medal World Beer Championships (Chicago) 2006, 2007, 2008
  Bitter was originally a draught ale served very fresh under no pressure (gravity or hand pump dispensing only) at cellar temperatures. Lucky for you today its available everywhere!

Our most popular brew is not really a bitter beer, it's a better Bitter!

For Beer Geeks
IBU's- 30
Hops- Willamatte, Warrior.
Malts- Pale, Crystal and Chocolate.
Water- Soft
Colour- 15.9°L
Glass Type Glass Type: Pint Glass, American Shaker, or Mug (Seidel)
Temperature Temperature: Cellar at 40-45 F; Serve at 45-50 F

i may be in love with their website!  it not only caters to beer geeks with full information on each beer, they also have a facts / trivia section that makes a cap popping noise when you scroll over it and it jumps to the next factoid!  and... they offer 2 litre growlers at their shop - your party to go bottle!  i am feeling an east coast road trip coming on...

thumbs up!

Monday, May 24, 2010

quote of the day

"Speaking of invention, did you know that the tin can was invented in 1811, but can openers weren't invented until 1855?  It's a fact.  During the forty-four years in between, hungry citizens had to access their pork 'n' beans with a hammer and chisel.  They were pretty lucky, don't you think, that in those days beer didn't come in cans?"

Tom Robbins
B is for Beer

Sunday, May 23, 2010

quote of the day

"For whatever reason, the ancient Egyptians weren't satisfied with mere survival.  They wanted to be remembered forever, which is why they built the pyramids, and they wanted to ensure that they'd be sufficiently glad and dizzy during their lifetime, which is why they invented beer."

Tom Robbins
B is for Beer

Saturday, May 22, 2010

B is for Beer

a children's book for grown-ups - definitely
a grown-up book for children - not so much

gracie perkel is a fabulous character and tom robbins' prose is as witty as ever.  it was a very quick, very enjoyable read.  but i wouldn't suggest reading it to your child, no matter how precocious!

probably the most fun way to read up on the how-to of beer.  a must have for every beer library.

"A hop is some funky vegetable that even vegans won't eat.  Farmers dry the flowers of this plant and call them 'hops'.  I should mention that only the female hop plants are used in making beer, which may be why men are so attracted to it.  It's a mating instinct... when brewers combine hops with yeast and grain and water, and allow the mixture to ferment - to rot - it magically produces an elixir so gassy with blue-collar cheer, so regal with glints of gold, so titillating with potential mischief, so triumphantly refreshing, that it seizes the soul and thrusts it toward that ethereal plateau where, to paraphrase Baudelaire, all human whimsies float and merge."

full of subversion, bons mots, irreverence and all things robbinsesque, i thoroughly enjoyed every well-placed word and illustration!

Friday, May 21, 2010

quote of the day

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
-Frank Sinatra

Thursday, May 20, 2010

good vs evil photos

hopping back in time to last thursday....

here are photos from the good vs evil event at waazubee (part of vancouver craft beer week):

bridget shows off our tickets at the beginning of the night:

the fearless russell brewery reps (featuring the honey lager and the angry scotch ale... their version of good vs evil???):

michelle, the tree rep pouring for the absent crannog rep:

and michelle pouring her own tree beverages:

best display definitely goes to tree...

and here's the lighthouse rep with bottles of the fisgard 150, he also had a keg of the keeper's stout:

howe sound may have had my favourite beer of the evening, the limited edition pothole filler oatmeal stout, but they didn't have much going for them in the presentation department.  i don't have a photo of their table at all... but this might be the pothole filler (or it could be the angry scotch or the keeper's stout...):

these are our end of the evening beers... when we resorted to lagers like tree's hefeweisen, howe sound whitecap wheat and russell's honey:

this was the only evil we found all night - tasters who ordered full beers just for a taste and then left them all behind.  it was a sad time for the rest of us all until the delightful server took the abandoned beers out of our sight:

and this is me clowning around on my wobbly way home:

good food, good beer, good times... and no hangover.  in good vs evil, this time the good prevailed!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

BC Craft Beer Tasting

wow, wish i could remember even half the beers i tried last saturday night at Just Here for the Beer's BC Craft Beer Tasting at the edgewater casino.

but i'm sure i can only recall about a quarter of them. "free for all beer swill" might have been a more appropriate name for this event.

and before you think i'm besmirching the good name of just here for the beer or vancouver craft beer week, let me just say that this review is fueled by incomplete memory, prompted by already having pub crawled for seven hours prior to arrival at this event.  to say that i had my beer goggles on would be being most generous to me.  so take it all in with however much salt you find necessary.

pros:  the little taster glasses were more than adorable, the lighting, while a bit harsh for such an event lead to really great photos of my friends and i making asses of ourselves, there were more beers available to try than i could possibly get to, everyone was happy, the pourers were friendly and liberal with their measures, fun to be in the casino when the beer ran out, with cafeteria available for any mopping up necessary, theatre seating so if you needed a breather you could still watch all the crazy action.

cons:  very few actual beer reps there, most pourers were just there to pour whichever beer you pointed at, there was no rhyme or reason to a lot of the beer tables (i.e. several breweries at each and then the rest of that brewery at a table elsewhere in the room), some lecherous men in the crowd, felt more like a frat party than a beer tasting.

it was fun though!  i had a great time and so did all of my friends.  and $40 was a very reasonable price for as much beer as you can drink.

would i go again next year?  i don't think so.

breweries i recall being there:  phillips, russel, dead frog, howe sound

good thing this wasn't a test.  i so would have failed and had to repeat the course.  which would not have been such a bad thing i guess!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Beers on the BrewPub Crawl

okay, here's the scoop on the beers we enjoyed on the four beers and a funeral brewpub crawl, part of vancouver craft beer week, held on saturday.  as usual, i had lots of beers, so the notes start out legible and sensical and quickly degenerate.  here they are, sometimes verbatim, edited for sense and to protect any pride i might still have left!

steamworks:  ginger beer - amazing, if i had more than two thumbs, they'd be up too.  an ale with lots of ginger flavour and carbonation.  makes the tongue tingle and the tummy warm.  great alternative to a lemon or lime lager for refreshment.  we all tried this beer, and were all mighty glad that we did.

even though i swore i would only have one beer per stop in an effort to keep my wits about me, i broke that oath at the very first stop and had a second beer.  apparently it only takes 1 beer to make me forget all my good intentions.  bridget and i ordered ipas and amanda ordered the wheat beer.  bridget and i were disappointed.  there were no hops... we think perhaps we got a lager by mistake.  we were however very happy to have amanda with us so she could try all the wheat beers and hefeweisens instead of us!  she found the hefeweisen very citrusy and although it was cloudy as all hell, she did not find it yeasty.  paired with pub grub appys:  jalapeno poppers, garlic cheese toast, tempura prawns, chicken drumettes, chicken skewers, veggies and dip.

bathroom sitch:  we had our own two private bathrooms, which were beautiful and clean.  the room was pretty swank too!

insert musical march through downtown to yaletown - accompanying the cask casket and regaled by the carnival band.  this much fun has got to be illegal.  whoever came up with the idea is a genius, perhaps an evil genius, but a genius nonetheless!

dix:  for everyone it was the ipa.  bridget and i were most pleased - we do love us hoppy goodness!  great pairing with veggie curry on rice.  hops and spice go together so nice... ly.  we weren't fond of the ipa bread though.  it tasted like hops were the only ingredient.  we love hops, but give us some other ingredients to mellow them out a little!  "is there even yeast in the ipa bread?  its a dense little fucker.  too much hops with nothing to dilute it."

the ipa was sheer heaven.  amanda was a trooper and drank hers down even though she is "not a fan of the ipas.  love the lemon, zest, citrus taste".  she got a lemon to add to it and reports that it helped take away the intense bitter.  then she tried salting it, verdict was that was not a good idea.  don't be insalting your beer. ba dump bump.

bridget and i savoured every last drop of our ipas and it took more will-power than i thought we possessed to resist the urge to get another as we knew there were many miles left to go.  about the only will-power we exhibited all day (and night) so kudos to us for having had any at all!

bathroom sitch:  only one of three stalls was working in the women's - leading to quite long line-ups and the using of the men's.  not beautifully appointed, but they were clean!

yaletown:  choice of all their taps.  i had the brick & beam ipa, amanda had the hills wheat and bridget got her dark fix with the warehouse stout.

amanda found hers delightful, cloudy (natch) and already decided that she was going to have a second one.  "hells yes" and definitely tasted the banana notes.

bridget's stout was opaque and dark as treacle with that lovely brown head she loves so much.  coffee notes but no chocolate.  thumbs way up.  and a second was necessary.

i found the ipa had a nice head, it was quite carbonated with a hoppy nose, lovely and clear in my glass and easy to drain far too quickly.  i preferred the dix ipa, but only by a small margin.  i had two as well.

it was a whole round of happy, followed by a second round of the same.  we enjoyed the opportunity to have chosen our own beers, and then went and had the same thing again.  but we liked having the right to choose!  and i liked having tomato pesto olive thin crust pizza, the carnivores enjoyed the pepperoni basil.

bathroom sitch:  well-appointed and clean.

on to the aquabus ride over to granville island - such fun.  of course we took photos of our shoes and not the scenery, but had a great time regardless.

dockside:  again a choice of beers to sample, and two beer tickets for this stop.  yay!  i was not in the know that there were cask beers available, so i used my first ticket on a keg pilsner and then had the cask ale for my second after i was illuminated by new-found friends.

vancouver craft beer week merchandise was available at this stop - so we bought tee shirts - yay!  and sat outside with the caution tape.  amanda says "sun is shiningish, the day has been fan'fuck'n'tastic so far!  meeting interesting people, must say i love the citrus."

johnson pilsner - i liked it, would have preferred an ipa since i was full on into my hops mode.  usually find pilsner kind of bland, delicious but bland.  this one is full of subtle goodness.

bridget had the grand crew dark something or other.  tasted like red wine to me and molasses to amanda, but bridget really dug it.  "its kicking her ass though.  lots of flavour.  cherry"

shockingly amanda had the hefeweisen.  she liked it.  it was almost clear, quite carbonated and lighter as far as the citrus and other fruit notes went that she'd been drinking earlier.  kinda nondescript.

bathroom sitch:  lots of them!

oh, and as an aside, i also had the following in my notes:  woman to man ratio was very close to 1-1... thumbs up to his great idea for an afternoon of drinking that appeals to everyone!

so endeth my notes from the day.  i do recall enjoying the cask pale ale, it just that we were in a rush to get our food, drink our beers down and get to our next event on time.  next year, no second event.  we needed more time to savour this one!

all that remains is to thank my fabulous tasting buddy dates for enabling me so galantly, and to thank all our new friends for being so friendly and willing to share their insider knowledge and opinions and laughter, and of course major thanks to the organizers for coming up with, and then executing flawlessly, such an amazing afternoon.  i'd do it again in a heartbeat, and certainly won't miss it next year for anything less than my own funeral.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Four Beers and a Funeral BrewPub Crawl

tried so hard to upload camera phone photos during the crawl, but to no avail... then yesterday the excess excesses from the crawl hit me and i was unable to type... so my apologies that this post is so late in arriving...

four beers and a funeral:  omg, i'm not sure there are words to describe the wonderousness of this event.  of course though, i'm going to use lots of them any way! 
and post photos too!

let me just begin however, by saying that the vancouver craft beer week crew did a fabulous job on this event in particular, and the whole week was so well run, well planned, and well imagined - i loved it!  and bought the shirt to prove it!

first stop, steamworks.  amazing ginger beer, which is a limited edition, so hurry in and get yours before its gone.

we were at this stop for an hour, so along with the delectable pub grub they served, we also had a second beer.  it was supposed to be ipa, but i think we got lager instead.  nothing to write home about either way... did i mention how fabulous the ginger beer was??  full report in another post...

then the wonderful carnival band lead us on our merry way through the city to dix bbq brewpub.  best funeral procession i've ever been a part of.

next stop, dix.  the ipa was fabulous and perfectly paired with veggie curry.  will be sad to see this establishment close...

next stop, yaletown brew pub.  the thin crust pizza was delicious - i had the pesto kind.  anyone notice the theme so far of veggie food at every stop?  i sure did, and appreciated it immensely!

were at the yaletown long enough to have two beers there as well... yay five beers in before dinner!  and making new friends!

no, we are not short, not by a long shot.  jim the priest is 6'7" without his heels!

after a lovely aquabus trip, we finished off at the dockside where i enjoyed a pilsner, a cask pale ale and a gastro-bbq before we had to run away at 7:00 to make it to our next event.

still standing seven beers later - thank the organizers for making sure we had so much great food at each stop to mop us up and keep us vertical!

i'll admit that i didn't make it to every event this past week, but i would not hesitate to recommend that if you only make it to one vancouver craft beer week event next year that it should be this one!  and expect it to sell out quickly.  of course i also recommend that you make it to as many events next year as you can - it was a great week.  major kudos to the organizers!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

quote of the day

"You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."
-Frank Zappa

Friday, May 14, 2010

good vs evil

vancouver craft beer week's good vs evil at waazubee last night was fabulous!

i have all sorts of notes, in varying degrees of legibility...  here they are, for what they're worth!  photos to follow.

Russell's Angry Scotch Ale:  nice head.  dark as treacle, but not hazy or opaque.  i can see why it won a bronze medal at the world cup of beer.  malty, toasty, with a little coffee.  delightfully dark.  4.5%

oh boy, full-sized sleeves are gonna kick our fargin' arses

[i chatted up the rep and he said that the lemon ale that i sampled the night before at st. augustine's is cleared of all its yeast and that's why its so un-hefeweisen-like and refreshing.  and probably why i actually liked a wheat beer!]

Howe Sound's Pothole Filler limited edition oatmeal stout:  9% and 65 IBUs.  a meal in a glass - you could fill a pothole with it.  brown head.  opaque.  lots of coffee.  good thing we had this early so as to work our way back up to hungry for the appys.  went straight to bridget's head, did not even pass go or collect $200.

[i chatted up the rep and he confirmed that this limited edition of the John Mitchell series is still available at the specialty beer stores in town.  they brewed more litres than usual of it (my notes say 100,000 litres, but who knows if that's what he actually said!).  the imperial red three beavers is over now, but so popular that it will be back next year.  total eclipse of the hops should be out soon.  it'll be an imperial ipa with 90 IBUs.  oh, and apparently nigel at the alibi room really loves the pothole filler]

lord, this is the night of the two-sandwich beers!

Lighthouse Keepers Stout:  opaque, lovely brown head, 5.1%.  malty coffe nose, not heavy like a stout - called a stout but touted as a black ale - not a sandwich, for a black opaque bevvie its practically a summer brew.  refreshing... believe it or not.  not unlike the Okanagan Springs black - is this a gateway stout for lager drinkers?

Tree Captivator Doppelbock:  lovely amber colour, fucking refreshing.  an amber somehow is so good with food, and we drank this one with our appy plate.  our food pairing that maybe Tree doesn't want associated with them:  deep fried salmon nuggets with tartar sauce, followed by brownies with tartar sauce is simply beyond words.  sublime comes close.  we do apologize to Tree - we heart them and we really heart this beer but we are overwhelmed by the food and the drunk night now and can't give this beer an unbiased review.  frankly we just want to roll around in it.  be a fountain of it.  we are naughty, we will still respect it in the morning.

[good lord, it was 9:00 by this time, 2 hours and 4 beers into the night, that is all i have to say in my defence]

[chatted up our next table neighbours from CAMRA, who told us that Crannog grows their own organic hops, and after the horrible hops decline last year are now supplying many breweries with hops.  yay, organic hops for all!]

major thumbs up to Tree who stood in for Cannery who provided their Apricot Ale and Blackberry Porter for tasting, but didn't show up to pour it for us.  apparently Tree has been pouring for them all week.  we were told that Cannery only has five employees so that might be why they aren't showing up, but its still not good form not to hire someone for the event.  again, very nice of Michelle from Tree to be doing her job and helping out a fellow brewer.

[now on to my food rant - please bear in mind that the food was beyond yummy and so very necessary after four beers with two more to go, and i was very happy to see there was only one appy i wasn't able to eat...also very wonderful was the concept of having my own personal plate of appys delivered to me when i decided i wanted them - stroke of genius!]  disappointed that when i asked for my appy plate to skip the pork and replace with more veggies or seafood that i got a plate with only nachos, guacamole, brownie, cabbage, cucumber and battered salmon nuggets.  no yam fries, no regular fries, no prawns.  no idea why they chose these exclusions.  upon a petulant whine, my two prawns and regular fries were brought to me.

Lighthouse Fisard 150:  bavarian lager out of the bottle.  like stella, better than heineken.  we like it.  refreshing.  not overly carbonated.  bavarians are a little bland if you ask me... am i an ale snob?  probably... but i quite like this lager.  could keep drinking it if there weren't other flavours to try.

Russell Honey Lager:  clear, headless, so pale golden.  not bad, not standing out - could be we're not honey drinkers or lager drinkers.  we don't hate it... we just don't want 8.  nuff said... moving on

oh no... we have 2 tickets and only 2 wheat beers left to try.  dammit. [neither bridget nor i are fans of the wheat beer]

Howe Sound Whitecap Wheat:  coriander and orange.  distinctinve.  but i may be too drunk to appreciate its subtleties.  its just too much.  too much coriander makes it bitter in a non-hoppy way.  if they tone it down - not get rid of it - i'd like it.

Tree Hefeweisen:  number one hefe in canada.  so cloudy.  did they clear it at all?  no?  yikes.  banana and clove flavours are distinct, but no aroma of same.  i taste yeasty wheat and so i tapped out.  i just don't like the hefeweisen.

parting thought:  ode to a keg - what do they do with leftovers after an event like this?  leave it at the venue, take it with them to the next event, donate it, what?

and those are my notes from last night.
today i feel fabulous, not at all like i had six full sleeves in three hours!  thank dog for those appys!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Driftwood's Crooked Coast Amber Ale

ah Driftwood Brewery, local brewers extraordinaire!  today's tipple is the Crooked Coast Amber Ale.

yes, i know its not an ipa, sometimes i need a little more malt, and my darker beer of choice tends to be an amber ale.

holy head batman!  i think perhaps the beer was a bit too chilled at the pour... operator error.

from the bottle:  "Inspired by the original Alt-style beer of Dusseldorf, Crooked Coast brings together the aromas of German noble hops and Munich malt to produce a very refreshing and mellow ale that is the perfect companion on any shape of coast."

at a modest 5.1% you can settle in and make this your session beer, and i suggest that you do - its malty goodness sure does refresh!

and then i visited the website to see what they have to say, and they second my suggestion to make it a session beer:  "Delicate malt-hop balance is the defining trait of this quintessential session beer!"

and offers these food pairing suggestions: 
  • Celery, fennel, parsnips.
  • Bratwurst, weisswurst…yay German sausage!
  • A great compliment to many pork dishes.
 i'm picturing settling down with some crooked coast and a bowl full of (vegetarian) german sausage and fennel stuffing...

quote of the day

"Who does not love beer, wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long."
-Carl Worner

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

vancouver craft beer week

here we are, several days into the inaugural Vancouver Craft Beer Week and i have yet to attend an official event.

why, you might ask, why?

tight pursestrings would be the easy answer.  there are so many fabulous sounding events, but each one comes with a price tag that until i win the lottery, i just can't justify paying.

i would have been willing to part with cashola (or more realistically, creditcardola) for more events, but for my great fear of showing up at a beer and food pairing event that tries to feed me only meat.  you see, i'm a lacto-ovo-pescatarian (and no, i don't need medication for that) which as far as vegetarianism goes leaves me on the more flexible side of food restrictions (eggs, dairy, fish and seafood are all on my "eat it" list), which is good.... but not good enough to take the risk that some of the food on offer will fall into the above categories.

so what? you may be asking, so what?  well, the menus for the craft beer and food pairing events aren't listed on the website (except for the Homegrown Heroes Cask Dinner at The Corner Suite Bistro De Luxe).  being the proactive sort, i phoned two of the restaurants of events not yet sold out to ask if they could tell me what the menus would be.  granted i called them both during evening hours when they likely had more pressing things to do than answer their phones, but both had answering machines which invited me to leave a message that they would promptly respond to.  i left detailed messages of what i wanted to know, and why, and my contact information.

that was last week.  never did hear back from either of them and both events are now sold out.  shall i name names?  yes, i think i shall.  it was the alibi room and hapa izakaya.  i'm very disappointed that they didn't take the time to return my calls - even if it was just to tell me that they didn't yet have menu details.  boo, i say, boo!

so, it looks like my first vancouver craft beer week event will be the four beers and a funeral on saturday, bravely followed by the craft beer tasting at the edgewater casino later that evening (note to self: pace yourself).  six whole days after the festivities began.  i am bereft.  i wanted to be a part of the hoopla of a whole week devoted to craft beer.  surrounded by others who love beer like i love beer, or possibly even more.

sure, i could be attending non-ticketed events, of which there are several.  but i'm feeling petulant.  and, frankly the emphasis on beerbrats at the main and broadway hot spots is kind of a turn-off.  i'd rather whine.

i do plan to stop in at st. augustine's tonight for a pick me up after i view the girl with the dragon tattoo at the van east cinema, in an effort to feel craft beery.  i might even hit waazubee tomorrow night for good and evil if there are still tickets, cuz they are offering beer and appys for $30.  appys tend to be a safely mixed lot including things i can eat... and if not, its only $30 as opposed to the $70 some dinners were listed at.  i believe sunday brunch at the whip is the way i am going to bid adieu to this week.  so i'm not totally going to cut off my nose to spite my face.  but i'm still gonna whine and possibly stamp my feet once or twice.

next year i need to be more in the know about this event so i can be a bigger part of it all, perhaps even volunteer myself to be involved and work to get some veggie-friendly options included.  until then i shall down my sorrows in delicious craft beers.  that'll show them!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Southern Tier's Unearthly Imperial IPA

ah the Southern Tier Unearthly
'tis one of my favourites - and offers "an uninhibited infusion of hops"
which is good - i like hops!

i'm not sure if its the 11%, the 23 degrees plato, the red wheat or the triple hopping with chinook & cascade hops in the kettle, styrian golding hops back, topped with cascade, centenial and chinook dry hops that makes it so darned tasty, but whatever it is, i'm quite the big fan!  (and don't tell anyone, but i like to put on my best jersey accent when i say that its from new york, not that i know whether lakewood is anywhere near jersey or not - why let trifles like that stand in the way of an accent opportunity?)

this is a beer that i can have just one 650 mL bottle of over the course of an evening and feel perfectly satisfied on any old night, or require several rounds of to quench my hops hunger some other random night, but guaranteed i'll be a hoppy camper either way it turns out!  one night it will just be easier to remain vertical than the other.  tom-a-to, tom-ah-to as they probably say in lakewood, new york.

the bottle says:
"At the Southern Tier Brewing company, vigorously hopped beer is our standard and inspiration.
We continue a commitment to innovation with our most aggressive offering yet.  Unearthly is a manifestation of the brewer’s craft; skilfully balancing art and the forces of nature to produce a divine liquid.  Delicately pour a taste into a fluted glass.  Smell the enchanting aromas of the hops waft forward as your fist sip divulges this beer’s fervent soul.  To underestimate Unearthly is to trifle with the mysteries of the universe, so please consume wisely."

truer word have never been spoken, in vino or otherwise.

i am intrigued to try this other unearthly version of special and limited availablity, but despair of it ever arriving locally.  mind you, i've not yet scoured the entirety of vancouver and environs for it... i do have other things i need to do in a day you know.

gemini Imperial Blended Ale: blended unearthly & unfiltered hoppe:

High in the winter sky, two parallel stick figures are visible & known as “the twins,” or the constellation Gemini. The astronauts of the 1960s flew as teams of two in a program named after the celestial pairing. At Southern Tier, we have our own fraternal twins, Hoppe & Unearthly. Blended together & placed in this vessel, the mission of our Gemini is to travel high & take passengers on a journey far into the heavens.

so, to sum up, i am a big fan; this is one of my favourite ipas.
you know, just in case you missed that in your reading so far.  yummy.  like it lots.  might marry it.  worry about the children, but might just do it any way.